Are we abusing our children?
The above mentioned question is a question that all parents and decent person that is entrusted with children as a teacher or counselor will ask themselves constantly.
Most feel that the definition of abuse is limited to physical abuse or lack of support and/or interest of the child. But the type of abuse that I would like to discuss is one that is never mentioned and conveniently forgotten. But is in many ways the worst type of all.
I am talking about exposure.
In the many years that I have spent in yeshiva and Cheder, beginning at a very young age, I have noticed this issue by many of my friends and in many ways myself.
I have had many friends thrown out of Yeshiva, albeit temporarily but emotional damage was done. I have had friends that were in constant combat with the Yeshiva staff and getting in trouble again and again, resulting embarrassment and shame including a stigma of “so he is the one that did —” etc.
The exposure I am speaking about is an exposure that us parents feel that we can handle, it is an exposure that we feel we can live with and still be considered a Lubavitcher Chossid. It finds itself in many areas.
I will enumerate some of them.
* Watching and following sports.
* Non Tznius way of behavior.
* Improper speech.
* Derech Eretz.
* Chassidishe dress.
* Improper reading material (non Jewish books).
* Non-Jewish music.
And much more…
Almost all if not all times a bochur or child was punished or kicked out of school, it was due to or related to one of the abovementioned items.
To illustrate the message I would like to convey, I will share a true story that happened to a close friend of mine.
We were in Shiur Bais zal in one of the bigger Yeshivas of Lubavitch, and my friend was “busted” reading a non-Jewish novel. The Menahel of the Yeshiva spoke to him and asked him to hand over the book and the bochur refused saying, “I read this type of stuff at home too.”
To make a long story short, he was thrown out of yeshiva being that the parents “couldn’t understand” what was so terrible, and the bochur didn’t have the proper derech eretz he went home for a week.
Please do your children a favor and bring them up in a warm Yiddishe Shtub (home) that is illuminated by the light of Chassidus (many hear this under the Chuppa and forget that one fast …) and keep the shmutz out.
Be a parent that your children will look up to by being a living example of what a Chossid is. Even if it is fake, thereby saving your children and yourself (dealing with these types of problems when your children are in yeshiva) from much pain and agony later on.
Whenever I saw one of my friends going to the principals or Rosh Yeshivas office, I would give a silent prayer of thanks to Hashem for bringing me into my warm and caring family that has spared me from all the goyishkeit that they are so dependent on.